I am not one of those mothers who pushes her kids towards milestones. I sometimes wish I was more like that (like with speech for Matthew – good lord we had no idea how to encourage good speech skills early on), but I’m just not. Matthew hit all of his physical milestones on time or early – he was sitting up unassisted at 4.5 months, truly crawling before 8 months, and walking at 11 months and 1 week (I only know this because he walked while we were on a vacation and I know the date of that hotel stay – May 31). I have documented his milestones on scraps of paper here and there that I take photos of in case I ever lose them, but there is no baby book, no formal list in sequential order, etc. All of the things he’s done, he’s done on his own without us trying to get him to do them. Sitting, for example, was just something I tried because another mother told me I should, and he sat straight up that night with no help for us or him – he just sat there with perfect posture. Who knew? If you read about RIE parenting at all, you know that kids just naturally hit these milestones on their own – and that’s what we’ve seen with Matthew.
Now, with Bryson, I have pushed him a little more. For family photos, we sat him up in the grass when he was 4 months old and he did it – just like his big brother did before him with no assistance. Neither of our kids were rollers, and Bryson was never given the opportunity since his brother was always running around him on the floor and it freaked me out. At some point in January or February, we just said to heck with it and let him loose – and he rolls all over the house to get to where he wants to go. Matthew NEVER did that. I think he rolled from his back to tummy maybe 5 times in his whole babyhood. Not Bryson – he’s a crazy man who uses rolling as his main mode of transportation. Matthew was crawling by this time (Feb 22, and I know that because I just looked it up a couple of weeks ago for reference) and Bryson is just now army crawling – another thing that Matthew never did. I am telling you – these kids are all so different. But yeah, with Bryson, we know that he needs more opportunities to try things since he doesn’t have the freedom his brother had (due to safety concerns with a toddler running around), so we do work with him on certain things while Matthew is napping. We have worked with him on his speech for months now and he is a very verbal baby – and I do think he may be saying “Mama” with purpose – but how would I know given my past experience?
So anyway, here we are with Matthew, our oldest baby, and he was showing signs that he was ready to think about potty training. I didn’t read into it because, come on, he’s a BOY! Boys don’t potty train early (early to me is before 3 years old) unless you want a true fight, or at least that’s what I’d been told. And I don’t push my kids to do anything. I ignored the signs (telling me when he pooped, or saying “ooh ooh” before peeing, or showing lots of interest when I used the bathroom) and went on my merry way. I didn’t understand these people who said they hated diapers, because I loved them! And my kid has the softest, stinkiest poop on the planet (due to his no-grains diet). I just liked knowing that I had the freedom to do what I needed and wanted to do and I could change his diaper when needed, and after the fact, versus rushing to the bathroom whenever I heard the word, “pee.” I also wasn’t sure we were ready to start given Matthew’s speech delays – I wasn’t sure that we would understand each other. So – we just didn’t do it. B mentioned a few times that he thought Matthew was ready, and I agreed but said I wasn’t ready. B finally told me to order the potty chair so that Matthew could get used to seeing it.
Once the potty chair arrived (February 12th), Matthew was INTERESTED. Which meant that I needed to get myself ready. It didn’t matter anymore that I wasn’t ready – he was seeming ready. So I got ready, psyched myself up, and let him start using the potty before his bath each night. He caught onto that super quickly, so we moved onto just setting him on it off and on. Almost every time we set him on it, he’d pee. It took a few days and then he was truly peeing every time we set him on the potty, and he was proud of himself. He moved up to the big toilet (with the little seat on top) pretty quickly and all but abandoned the potty chair.
OK. It was time to get serious.
We were letting Matthew wear diapers whenever we weren’t putting him on the potty, and I thought that was OK. But then I read Gemini Momma’s post on potty training and realized that I am the only mother on the planet who has not read a thing about potty training, but was thinking about potty training. I decided to do some digging based on the things she mentioned (when is too early to train, when is it too late, what’s the best way, once you start training – no more diapers, etc). I learned that we may be confusing him with using the potty, but also having him wear diapers, and I decided it was time to train him or stop using the potty altogether.
We decided to potty train Matthew. During spring break. Because we’re stupid.
But actually, we aren’t stupid. It went amazingly well! I thought maybe we could try to train without doing it naked, but I was so wrong. On day 1, Matthew went through 3 pair of undies in 20 minutes and I decided that naked was the way to go. He didn’t have a single accident naked, but would also go 3 times within 10 minutes because he wouldn’t empty his bladder. By the end of the first evening, he was telling us when he had to go and would go by himself. I did some very quick reading that said that he was ready to wear loose pants – so I decided to try that on Tuesday.
Big mistake. Matthew did not understand that pants weren’t diapers and he peed in them immediately. Off came the pants and we were back to naked time, which was fine with me since I had originally planned to do that for at least 3 days. Lots of people on FB said to do naked time for a week, so I was all for that and cool as a cucumber.
All week there was not one accident until Thursday, when Matthew insisted on wearing his sweat pants after going to lunch. (At lunch, he actually told me he needed to pee while in his first pull-up – but someone was in the bathroom so he used his pull-up. Talk about confusing a kid!) We came home from a great lunch out and he begged me to let him wear his pants with no diaper/pull-up/undies. I was cool with that since going to loose pants was the next step, so I said sure thing. Within minutes, he had pooped. Gah. I did get him to the toilet and he finished his business there (which was a huge relief as I was worried he’d be afraid of doing a #2 on the toilet since my nephews both were). I got him and the bathroom all cleaned up and once again he wanted pants. Fine. Well, he wasn’t done pooping and pooped in those pants like mad. He tried so hard to tell me before it happened, but I was busy disinfecting things. Shoot. Once that was cleaned up, it was off with the pants again. HA!
As long as there were no pants, there were no accidents. I was worried he’d never wear pants again.
On Friday, I let him wear a pull-up to lunch and he came home dry after being out for more than an hour. And by Friday, we were getting him to empty his bladder each time he peed. Things were looking up. At dinner, he took off on us for the bathroom, saying, “pee pee pee!” and came back out (he closed the door and did not want help) talking about Pip and a puddle (Pip and Posy book). We asked, “did you make a puddle?” “Yep!” We asked him to show us where and he turned around to head toward the bathroom and B said, “his butt is covered in poop!” Well, he’d tried to get on the big potty to poop and couldn’t get there in time, so sat on the potty chair instead and then tried to dump that into the big potty. Needless to say, the bathroom was a WRECK and I was once again cleaning up poop. It was everywhere – and in the carpet right by the bathroom. And then B found some on Matthew’s foot. It was epic! But no one lost their cool. Not once. Because come on – he KNEW to poop on the potty. HOORAY!
Today, we had to go out of town to see B’s grandma. She lives 1.25 hours away and we went to breakfast before heading up. We had Matthew pee once we got to breakfast, once during breakfast (his idea), and then before leaving and getting into the car. An hour and 20 minutes later, we were at the nursing home and we went to the potty and his pull-up was DRY. I was in shock. The entire time there, he held it until we made him go, and he did great going once again before getting in the car to come home. Once home, he was still dry so we kept him dressed. There was not a single drop in that pull-up before, during, or after our long dinner either. There have been no pee accidents since going naked and then into pull-ups and regular clothes (jeans even!), and the poop issues are simply due to him insisting on doing it on his own without any help from us.
We are keeping him in pull-ups through Wednesday since he has school on Monday and Wednesday and I want to get him better at pooping before letting him loose at school in undies (he usually poops at school – lucky teachers!). We only use diapers for naps and bed time. We’re done with diapers for the most part and I’m hoping the pull-ups are a thing of the past by next weekend, but honestly, I could care less if they aren’t. They’re easy and they’re working for him. But it would be nice to get him into his cute undies, which he is actually excited about!
So yeah – spring break, baby! I can honestly say that this has been the most productive spring break of my life. For a mom who didn’t expect to even try this until her kid turned 3, I’m sort of in shock that we’re at the tail end of potty training at just 33 months. I wasn’t signing Matthew up for summer camps until the end of July so that we could get him potty trained in time, but I’m now registering him for one the week of his birthday.
I guess he was ready. Who knew (besides B)?